Living Breakwaters

Lauren Elachi


Landscape Designer Lauren Elachi will discuss Living Breakwaters, an oyster centric landscape intervention to protect Staten Island from future storms.  

The Living Breakwaters concept design was developed by the SCAPE team for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design (RBD) Initiative, and was one of six winning proposals in this global competition. SCAPE’s layered approach overlays coastal resiliency infrastructure with habitat enhancement techniques and environmental stewardship models, linking in-water protective interventions to on-shore resiliency and community engagement.

Proposed for the South Shore of Staten Island, Living Breakwaters employs a necklace of breakwaters to buffer neighborhoods from wave damage and erosion while providing a more biodiverse habitat for juvenile fish, oysters, and other organisms. This living infrastructure is paired with social resiliency frameworks in adjacent neighborhoods on-shore to help increase awareness of risk, empower citizens, and engage local schools in waterfront education. The proposal was awarded to New York State and is currently being implemented by the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery with $60 million of CDBG-DR funding allocated for this project, currently in the schematic design process.

Lauren Elachi is a Landscape Designer focusing on regional mapping projects and community resiliency. She holds a Master in Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University. Using her fascination with infrastructure to drive her design work, Lauren has previous experience working on conceptual energy master planning projects for the Taiwan Strait, as well as smaller civic landscape and artistic installations in New York City. She was awarded the Penny White Grant from Harvard University to study nuclear waste disposal in Finland and Sweden, and has published on the political economy of plants.

Kate Orff

Join us Monday, September 22nd, 6pm

Kate Orff will discuss her, now funded, $60 million project Living Breakwaters.  In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the federal government allocated over one billion dollars to rebuild that Sandy affected region more resiliently.  The Office of Housing and Urban Development led Rebuild by Design, a design competition to access these funds. The SCAPE team, led be Kate Orff and in partnership with Billion Oyster Project designed a winning proposal to build Living Breakwaters off the southern end of Staten Island.  Kate will be discussing this project and her other ideas to incorporate rising water levels and severe storms into our city.